I've always loved cooking. Even living by myself I usually try to make a good, healthy, from scratch dinner at least once a week. I separate the leftovers into single servings and freeze them, so I'm not wasting, and so I don't have to eat the same thing all. week. long.
Since the BF and I have been together we always cook Sunday dinner together, and sometimes a few other weekend meals as well. This weekend we had Roast Chicken (with fresh herbs from the planters) with roasted carrots, leeks, and potatoes, and some home made bread on Saturday. We had, or didn't have, my failed attempt at french toast with the leftover home made bread on Sunday morning(I don't even know how it happened, but it was a big FAIL). Then on Sunday night, the BF whipped up some from-scratch pizza dough, and we made a BBQ chicken pizza with the leftover chicken from Saturday night.
We were trying to calculate out what these meals cost, versus going out (which, not gonna lie, we also love). The bread cost about $1.00, and made an approximately 1lb loaf. The chicken was on sale for $1.29/lb, which means it was about $4.50 total. Add in the random other few ingredients, and those meals cost probably somewhere near $10 total...for all three. Well, minus the fact that we ended up eating breakfast out after the french toast situation. By a conservative guess at $10 per meal for each of us if we'd gone out, we saved probably some where near $50!
It was also great to know pretty much everything that we were eating came from whole ingredients. No preservatives, no artificial anything.
When we were cooking I was thinking out loud about all of this, the savings, the health, the activity of preparing something together. I mentioned that my Grandpa, who grew up on a farm during the depression, always eats a whole apple. I'm talking pretty much everything but the seeds. I'm not a wasteful person, generally, but I usually get 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through with a whole apple and decide I'm done. I've always seen apples at the grocery store, in huge, sparkling piles, of probably four different colors and eight different varieties in any given store.
I've been fortunate enough to never go hungry, and (like many in modern day western culture)to have pretty much any amount, of any type of food easily accessible to me at all times in my life. I did help my Grandpa in his backyard garden from time to time growing up, if you call eating one strawberry to every two put in the bucket "helping", but this is the first time in my life that I've really made it a priority to know where my food is coming from, and even attempt to grow some herbs and vegetables from start to finish all on my own. Grandpa, on the other hand, has lived his entire life growing much of his own food during the spring, summer and fall. During hard times in his childhood, his family literally survived on the foods that they produced. They grew, ate, canned, traded, and even saved seeds for the next year's planting from their fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables didn't come from giant crates, and were only available a few months out of the year. They were precious.
This has really given me a different perspective on food and eating. A more appreciative perspective. A more healthful perspective. I would never want to waste anything that I'd babied to fruition like I am with my plants. I've always known where apples, or peas, or potatoes come from, but actually seeing a dead looking seed sprout up, grow strong, and make something edible is pretty miraculous.
Call me the reformed apple-waster.
(Photo courtesy SteveGarfield)